Perhaps better known for its tuned-up Porsches and recent adventures in amphibious transportation, the Swiss performance-engineering team at Rinspeed showed off a new concept at the International Geneva Motor Show—in two senses of the word. The Rinspeed MicroMAX concept vehicle is a prototype of a roomy new EV, and it also sets a possible template for a fresh approach to urban driving.
The MicroMAX itself is highlighted by a unique interior design that can comfortably fit four adults in a vehicle about the size of a MINI, yet still have enough space left over for an (unfolded) stroller or shopping cart. To accomplish this, the revolutionary Rinspeed project relies on “upright seats,” which are more akin to bar stools than traditional vehicle seats. As a result, the driver and passengers are in sort of a supported standing position, enabled by the MicroMAX’s 86-inch height. The MINI, for comparison, is about 55 inches tall.
Beneath the Rinspeed’s high roof is plenty of high technology, too, and this brings us to the other concept in play here. For environments that focus more on public than private transportation, the MicroMAX was designed to leverage the benefits of “swarm intelligence” to provide vehicular advantages in which the value of the whole MicroMAX fleet outweighs the sum of its parts. In more concrete terms, a swarm of MicroMAX vehicles could drastically improve public transportation by electronically monitoring the status of each individual vehicle—and its passengers—in real time, then manage which MicroMAX goes where to optimally meet travel demands.
According to Rinspeed: “This creates an extremely efficient, flexible and convenient transport system with maximum capacity—without wait times, without prior planning and without detours.”